State Senate



District: Chittenden

Residence: WILLISTON, VT


Contact Information

VIRGINIA LYONS of Williston, Chittenden County, Democrat, was born in Auburn, NY. She was educated at Drew University, Rutgers University, and earned her Doctorate at the University of Vermont. She taught at Trinity College, VT, for 27 years. She is a college professor with over 30 years of research, teaching, and other experience in Environmental and Biological Sciences. Community: She is a former member and Chair of Williston's Select Board, alternate member Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, former Cochran's Ski Club Chair, former Board Vice Chair and member CVAHEC and Vermont Family Network. She serves on Friends of the Winooski River Board, UVM Medical Center Children's Hospital Advisory Council member, CCTV 17 Board, and other community groups. In 2012-14, she served on the steering Committee of the Council of State Government North Eastern Region for Climate Adaptation policy programs. She served as Vice Chair of the NCSL Committee on Infrastructure, Environment and Energy. Senate terms and activities: 2000-2014. She chaired growth center land use planning and biomass working groups. She served on various committees: Agriculture Vice Chair 2000-02; Senate Health and Welfare Vice Chair 2000-02, member 2002-2010, Vice Chair 2013-14; Natural Resources and Energy member 2000-02, Chair 2002-2012, Vice Chair; Education 2010-2012; Finance 2012-14; Joint Energy; VT Champlain Citizens Advisory Committee, Chair; Health Care Oversight Committee; Sexual Harassment Panel; Corrections Oversight Committee; Co-Chair VT Commission on International Trade and State Sovereignty. Mailing Address: 241 White Birch Lane, Williston, VT 05495. Phone: 863-6129.

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Top Priorities Tracker
Q: What are your Top 3 Priorities?

1We can balance economic growth and needs for health, housing, services, education, and environmental quality. I value respectful, open government and decision-making. The experience and leadership I bring to the Senate provides positive results for constituents. I meet and work with members of each town in my district from Milton to Charlotte. We face pressing environmental problems. I will work to develop a sustainable funding source for Lake Champlain clean up. This is critical for water quality, public health, and to stabilize millions of dollars of income from lake tourism and recreation. Vermont has the second lowest electric rates in New England. I will work to improve renewable energy and alternative transportation. Our environment, children and firefighters are protected from exposure to toxic chemicals and flame-retardants. We can work with socially and environmentally responsible businesses to prevent future chemical contamination of ground water as recently occurred with PFOA.

2Chittenden County residents expect affordable, accessible health care, housing, and social services. Yet poverty hurts many and the opioid epidemic is consuming health and public safety resources. I co-wrote recent opioid and pharmaceutical pricing laws. This included $2.5 million for local public health prevention, statewide drug take back programs, treatment centers, and first responder support without increasing local or state taxes. Providers must be adequately and equally paid for services. Equity can also be achieved by integrating health care and social services. Collaboration between private and non-profit organizations and government can help coordinate health care with community services -- including housing, transportation, home health, and services for mentally ill, disabled, and senior citizens. Meeting needs for people leaving hospitals or entering drug treatment can reduce economic and emotional costs and use health care dollars effectively.

3Improving educational quality and reducing education property taxes continues to be a challenge. Chittenden school districts like Chittenden East and South consolidated to save tax dollars. School districts can work together to purchase paper, fuel, or services and preserve local control. In January 2017 The Tax Department will report on how we might reduce property taxes for some Vermonters. Dual Enrollment and Flexible Learning Plans help students develop workforce readiness skills. Such programs can link students with emerging job opportunities in the arts, science, technology, and math. Economic development of these sectors will help solve problems facing our economy, environment and social fabric. Chittenden County towns received TIF monies, tax credits and other support. We can have a strong technology infrastructure and workforce, while preserving our working landscape. I will work on policies that allow transition to support education and 21st century jobs in our rural state.

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